Prayer for Peace in the Holy Land
Paradox Ministries: Promoting Reconciliation

Prayer for Peace in the Holy Land

NEWS UPDATE Feb 21 2008

February 21st, 2008 . by admin



The news from the Holy Land is currently dominated by reactions to the assassination of Imad Mughniyah in Damascus. He was the top military commander in Hezbollah. Over the years, in addition to organising attacks on Jewish and Israeli targets, he has organised attacks American marines and the hijacking of US citizens. Therefore he was at the top of the FBI’s Most Wanted list. His death is a huge blow to Hezbollah and must be worrying for Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah, because Mughniyah was part of his personal security forces.

Israel has denied any involvement in this daring attack in the middle of Damascus. Others think the assassination was carried out by the US or Syria, or resulted from internal strife in Hezbollah. The Kuwaiti daily newspaper Al-Rai blames “an Arab state” funded by the Gulf States.

Even if Israel is not responsible, and some Israelis doubt that, Hezbollah is making it a reason for an attack on Israel or possibly a Jewish target elsewhere. It can hardly do otherwise if it is to retain credibility in the Arab world.  The Israelis have mounted Patriot air defence missiles near Haifa.

Nasrallah has promised that Mughniyah’s blood “will lead to Israel’s fall.” An Iranian military leader stated: “In the near future, we will witness the destruction of the cancerous germ of Israel by the powerful and competent hands of the Hezbollah combatants.”

However Nasrallah has to bear in mind Hezbollah’s need to appear a legitimate Lebanese political party. This has restrained his terrorist activity in the past. It may discourage him from attacking Israeli or Jewish targets outside Israel, which he has not done since 1994.  If he mounted a massive rocket attack on Israel he would suffer severe retaliation which would not improve his popularity in Lebanon.  A token attack on Israel would not maintain his credibility.  He might send an unmanned drone loaded with explosives over Israel. The Israelis have shot several down already.  Israelis speculate that he might bomb an Israeli embassy in Africa or Asia, attack an El-Al plane, assassinate an Israeli leader or perform some other spectacular attack.

Israeli commentators say that, if Israel is responsible, they need to learn from history that such high-profile assassinations don’t achieve anything. In fact they lead to harsh retaliation and the people who take over from those killed have often proved worse than they were.


Sir John Holmes, who was involved in negotiations over Northern Ireland and now is UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs has warned Israel not to invade Gaza and to rely on diplomacy. He pointed out that Britain never considered bombing the IRA.

The Israelis are in a dilemma: if they invade Gaza this could destroy Mahmoud Abbas politically. If they organise a ceasefire, that would be a victory for Hamas.  They are afraid that, according to Israel’s ambassador to the EU, Europe might recognise Hamas as the legitimate government in Gaza.


Controversy has arisen from contradictory remarks emerging from Olmert and Abbas about discussions over Jerusalem. Olmert said that Abbas had agreed that Jerusalem had been taken off the agenda until later but Abbas denied this.  It is possible that this agreement was meant to be kept private but that, once public, Abbas could not afford to be seen to be in agreement.  It is certainly true that Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and former Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei are discussing Jerusalem. Livni and Saab Erekat, Palestinian negotiator, criticised any delaying of the Jerusalem discussions. Only recently, Olmert was saying that discussing the borders between Israel and a Palestinian state was an easy matter. It is difficult to see how that discussion could be settled without discussion about dividing Jerusalem.

However Benjamin Netenyahu, leader of the Israeli opposition Likud party claimed recently that Olmert is secretly negotiating to divide Jerusalem.

Discussions are taking place on Palestinian membership of international organisations, water supplies (a very important and contentious issue), internal security (including entry permits and border crossings), economics, etc.


  1. Pray that it may become clear who assassinated Imad Mughniyah and that no innocent parties will be harmed.2.Pray that tensions between Hezbollah and Israel will not lead to an escalation of violence.3.       Pray for peace with justice in the relationship between Israel and Gaza.4.       Pray for the success of the peace talks.

NEWS UPDATE February 12 2008

February 12th, 2008 . by admin

There is a growing danger of a major escalation in violence occurring between Israel and Hamas.  Hamas seems to be true to its foundation charter which states: “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it …. There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavours. The Palestinian people know better than to consent to having their future, rights and fate toyed with.”  The organisation’s representatives in Iran have stated that the Dimona bomb is a warning that Hamas will launch more terror attacks in Israel.

Hamas is enjoying an increased popularity resulting from its recent successes, namely:

a. Its landslide election victory amongst the Palestinians

b. It’s well-planned takeover of Gaza

c. It’s equally well-planned destruction of the wall between Gaza and Egypt which humiliated both the Israelis and the Egyptians.

Now, after every IDF reprisal attack on Gaza, Hamas fires a barrage of rockets into Israel for several days. Israel has suffered casualties, including an 8-year old boy who has lost one leg and might lose the other. Palestinians have also been killed and injured. Israel has complained to the UN Security Council about the rocket attacks.The Egyptians have warned that any Palestinian crossing the border will have his legs broken, but they are maintaining dialogue with Hamas because the organisation has extensive influence in the Arab press. The Egyptians are afraid that Israel is trying to dump Gaza on them so that it becomes an Egyptian problem. They see Hamas as furthering that plan.

IDF reprisals on Gaza continue and attempts to assassinate Hamas leaders are being stepped up. Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak stated that Israel aims to destroy Hamas in Gaza.

Israel is considering the possibility of allowing an international force in Gaza. But it is thought that countries would only agree to send troops if Gaza were stabilized through the demise of Hamas.

The spectre of a major Israeli military attack on Gaza looms. Israeli PM Ehud Olmert has survived the Winograd Report. Prior to that, political instability in Israel discouraged such an invasion. In addition there is the increase in Qassam attacks, the Dimona bomb and the Hamas threats of further terrorism. It is known that the IDF are making preparations. Obviously no sovereign state can sit by and allow its innocent citizens to be killed and maimed by attacks from adjoining territories. But such a military attack on Gaza would cause a great deal of bloodshed.

And yet, the constant vicious circle of attacks and reprisals will achieve nothing positive. If only Hamas, or the Gaza population, would realise that the attacks on Israel will not achieve their ideal purposes. Israel is not going away. On the other hand, Israel could seek to improve the lot of the Gazans by stopping the reduction of supply of electricity etc., and perhaps by opening the border under strict security controls. Could this undermine popular support for Hamas and force them to negotiate? Maybe Israel should remember that the amount of their exports to Palestinians is second only to their exports to the US.

Meanwhile, the Syrians have acquired more sophisticated missiles and other military hardware. Hezbollah has smuggled may Katyusha rockets into Southern Lebanon under the noses of the UN security forces.


1. For the population on both sides to become sickened by the vicious cycle of bloodshed and to press their leadership to negotiate.

2. For Hamas and the Gazan population to realise the attacks will not achieve the aim of removing Israel, but rather will continue to bring suffering upon themselves.  3. That Israel will take action to improve the lot of the people of Gaza so that a military strike on Gaza, and an increase in terrorism in Israel, might be avoided.

After Dimona

February 5th, 2008 . by admin


It was only to be expected. Israel was on full alert. The breaking down of the wall between Gaza and Egypt left the border open for 12 days, enough time for numerous terrorists to infiltrate Israel from the Sinai across the 300km border with the Negev Desert. Some had been arrested by the Egyptians in Sinai.

At 10.30am on Monday February 4th, for the first time for a year, a suicide bomber blew himself up in a shopping mall in Dimona, the town adjacent to Israel’s nuclear facility. Another suicide bomber was knocked out by the blast and was shot dead before he could detonate his own bomb. A 73 year old woman was killed and dozens injured.

It is a real cause of concern that various groups claimed responsibility: the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and (for the first time since 2004) Hamas. The worry is that this indicates that all these groups had sent terrorists into Sinai and genuinely believed the two bombers were theirs. This would confirm that numerous terrorists have infiltrated.

With Hamas agreement Egypt closed the border on Sunday February 3rd, erecting barbed wire and spikes set in concrete. However the absolute closure, which left some Gazans still in Egypt, led to violence in which 44 people, Gazans and Egyptians, were wounded. So Egypt re-opened the border. Egypt is taking a difficult route, negotiating with Hamas and yet refusing to accept them as the legitimate government of Palestine.

Hamas have asked Egypt to take over from Israel providing goods for Gaza. This would, of course, remove the economic weapon from Israel. Egypt hasn’t rejected the idea but it would face strong opposition from Fatah and the US. It would also have to accept responsibility for the economic welfare of Gaza.

Egypt wants Hamas and Fatah to co-operate in policing the border, with EU monitors. The EU monitors were withdrawn after the Hamas takeover of Gaza. Javier Solan, EU foreign policy spokesman, said the monitors could return if all parties agreed.

Meanwhile Shas, the right wing Israeli political party, has called on the government to cease negotiations with the Palestinians and to concentrate on building a fence across the 300km border with Egypt. The Israeli cabinet says it will do so by 2010 at the earliest at a cost of some $400-750 million. Others are calling for a harder line to be taken against Gaza.


1. For the traumatized and frightened people of Dimona and security for the people of Israel.

2. For the people of Gaza, still finding it difficult to obtain the necessities of life and for their protection from violence.

3. For God to frustrate the evil intentions of men and women of violence.

4. For proper control of the Gaza-Egypt border, perhaps with EU monitors.

5. For a successful government overseeing both the West Bank and Gaza, fostering peace negotiations, human welfare and extensively reducing violence.

6. For constructive relationships between Israel and Egypt.

7. For the peace negotiations to continue.